• Kit Eyre

5 Books to Read to Understand UK Politics

To say that British politics is finding new depths to sink to would be an understatement. Unless you're living in a cave (and, honestly, is there room for me in there?), you'll probably be aware of the ongoing scandals engulfing the Government, but many people don't follow politics all that closely and might be wondering why things work as they do and why it feels like nothing is being done about, well, anything.


As an author who writes about politics (and a Conservative politician, at that) in my Valerie Series, I've done a fair amount of research around the subject so I thought it might be useful to provide a bit of a reading list.


If you want to know how UK politics works, how things actually get done and why the things that get done aren't the things we want done, these are the books for you.


One quick note: these books are informative about the way politics in the UK works. I don't affiliate myself with any of the authors or agree with all their points, but the books serve an important purpose.

1. Why We Get the Wrong Politicians by Isabel Hardman


How do people actually end up sitting on those famous green benches and how does it affect the type (and calibre) of people we see in Parliament? Isabel Hardman has some answers and many anecdotes.

2. Confessions of a Recovering MP by Nick de Bois


I've written about this book before but, basically, it's the memoir of a Conservative who served as an MP from 2010 to 2015. It's an inside account of what MPs can do (and the mismatch between that and what the public expects of them).


3. Haven't You Heard? Gossip, Politics and Power by Marie Le Conte


Westminster gossip has more of an impact on how things work in the UK than it should. This is an eye-opening book that looks at the way personal information is used for political gain in the corridors of power, among other things.


4. The Blunders of Our Governments by Anthony King and Ivor Crewe


If you want a deeper dive into why things go wrong when governments make decisions, this is an excellent book. It isn't partisan and looks at how and why decisions are made and, crucially, why they tend to go spectacularly wrong.


5. How Britain Really Works: Understanding the Ideas and Institutions of a Nation by Stig Abell


This is a worthwhile look at how different institutions work (or don't work) and why many of the things we get so frustrated about are unlikely to change if things carry on the way they are.


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